As we gathered to worship Memorial Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church, the flag at the front of the sanctuary reminds us of those who died serving our country, fighting for our freedom. Because of their sacrifice, we have a rich history and a responsibility. We remember and are grateful for their service.
Doug Cory greeted the congregation as special prayers of healing were requested for several. In announcements, Vacation Bible School will be held Saturday, July 22.
The adult Sunday school lesson was "Do You Love Me," a study of John 21:15-23 and the story of Peter. We are reminded that believers are offered God's grace even when they fail. "Believers should examine the depth of their love for Jesus, faithfully follow Him despite their past, and should trust God's plans for their lives."
Linda Abercrombie read Psalm 91:1-5 and shared a devotional, "Bless the Lord, Oh, My Soul." "Daily morning prayers help shape the course of our day and our life, proclaiming God's faithfulness throughout the day. Prayers don't have to be long, but should be intentional."
As Susan Cory played "Revive Us Again," Rick Lett and Jeff Calley served as ushers and collected the offertory. Karen Gardner led the congregational hymns. The men joined voices in singing "When The Saints Go Marching In," and the ladies sang "Sweet Hour of Prayer."
Pastor Roger Gill brought us God's word in the message, "The Truth About Thorns," with Scripture from 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
"Paul is suffering from something, a thorn in the flesh. Sometimes we think we have failed. Whatever God brings into our life, He does it to make us better. When we get successful, we tend not to give God the glory. And yet when we fail, we rely on Him for help. We need to learn from Paul's thorn in the flesh. Paul reminds us not to boast but give glory to God for what comes our way."
As Brother Roger began the message, he told us that Paul's thorn caused humility.
"Paul told us not to boast. The thorn reminded him to give glory to God and not boast. Paul always stayed in a state of humility, and the thorn caused it. It was a personal pride issue, and the thorn was to keep Paul from being puffed up. Verse 7 says, 'And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.'"
Brother Roger told us that "Paul had proper preparation to share his testimony. He also had a dramatic salvation and tells us that God gives us our salvation as a gift. Verse 10 tells us that Paul had an attractive attraction. 'Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.'
"Jesus reminds us in verse 9 that He is in charge, not Satan. 'And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.'"
Brother Roger asked, "Do you want to live with the power of God or the weakness of failure? 2 Corinthians 10:10 tells us Paul's public speaking amounted to nothing. He had a tough time preaching. The thorn gave him strength. We don't know what the thorn in the flesh was for Paul, but it gave him strength and kept him relying on God. God takes the weak and makes it strong. God gives affliction so He can teach us affection. That is when the thorn in Paul's side actually caused pleasure. Things that appear unreachable become available with God."
Brother Roger asked, "What are you learning in the 'School of Sorrow? The Biblical principle is that grace is enough and we have to realize the sovereignty of God. The value we learn from experiences we should share with others and verbalize the word of God. The Lord is not concerned as much about our circumstances and He is us in our circumstances. We have to practice the presence of Jesus. He is there anyway, and we need to realize it. Then we will be real with God. God works when we sometimes don't want to. We are all the same at the foot of the cross. A church with 10 is just as important as a church of 1,000. God is impressed with our worship and our heart, not our numbers."
In closing, Brother Roger told us that "If Paul had not had the thorn, his ministry might not have been as effective. The thorn is there to respect, not to resist. The thorn is an instrument of God's grace meant to empower Him and for us to spread His word. 1 Corinthians 1:29-36 gives us a warning about being boastful. If we boast about anything, boast in the Lord. Man has a tendency to brag, be seen, be known and be heard. God only cares about our heart. Keep your eyes on the light; God will direct you. Paul ended all of his writings with 'Grace be with you.'"
Mill Creek Baptist Church is 3 1/2 miles east of Noel, just off Highway 90. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m., followed by worship service at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome.
The opinions expressed are those of the author.